I have chosen to attend High Mass at All Saint’s Margaret Street, built in the latter half of the nineteenth century at the height of the Oxford Movement’s influence. Servers please note the height of the candles on the high altar (above)!
The internal decoration is extremely ornate (Lady Chapel seen above) but the service was modern catholic Anglicanism, very much similar to our Festal Eucharists at HTSH. Indeed the size and age range of the parishioners was very similar to ours. They had a professional choir who sang beautifully and the congregation were well-versed in their traditional movements, all bowing their heads at the mention of ‘Jesus’ and when the pew sheet said ‘Please kneel’ we all knelt. Indeed when the priests brought the sacrament to a parishioner who couldn’t come up for communion, everyone knelt (even those lighting votive candles) until the priests had taken the sacrament back into the sanctuary.
After the service, the priests left by a side door and there was no shaking hands at the end 😦 Coffee, however, was served in the front courtyard which you had to walk through to get back to the street. I’m not sure what happens if it is raining. I do note with an element of jealousy, that they have a licensed bar under the parish office.
I met a parishioner from St Peter’s Eastern Hill (small world isn’t it) but no one else spoke to me. As the priests didn’t stand in the doorway, I didn’t meet them either, though the celebrant did smile at me as I made my way through the courtyard but he was talking to someone else. [Note to parish: we can do better than that].